Why Can’t They Fight to the Death Like in the Good Old Days?

Fiction is when you’re allowed to make your protagonist’s life a living hell – to keep readers interested in the story. I’ve read that line, and similar ones, in many books on fiction writing.

It’s hard to do. It’s hard to continually make your main character (who you’ve invested a lot of time in developing) miserable.

It’s one of the reasons why I hate writing fight scenes (and I’m such a terrible choreographer – lots of my fight scenes probably defy the laws of physics). It’s hard for me to get my characters bloodied up, to sometimes kill them off, to break their hearts…

But it’s necessary for an interesting story. I guess I have to get over my hesitation and just –

have no mercy. After all, it is only fiction. Perhaps I should temporarily pretend that my main characters are my exes; then I’ll have no problem putting them through hell and back.

My questions for the audience:

Do you have a hard time writing conflict scenes? Do you hesitate when it comes to “killing your darlings”?